Nikki le Roex investigated the genetic basis for susceptibility to TB in African buffalo for her PhD in Molecular Biology. Her postdoctoral work explores innate and endemic risk factors for TB in susceptible wildlife species. Her particular interest lies in the application of molecular biology and genetic information to solving or mitigating conservation problems.
Sven Parsons worked as a clinical veterinarian in private practice before doing an MSc in veterinary science and a PhD in Molecular Biology. His doctoral and postdoctoral work has primarily focussed on the diagnostic immunology of animal TB. Additionally he has an interest in unusual members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex which are isolated from various wildlife species.
Taime Olivier did an Mtech in Biomedical Science at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) investigating the protective effects of kolaviron, an extract of the Garcinia kola seed widely consumed in Central and West Africa, in an isolated perfused rat heart model. She has also worked in diagnostic laboratories in Namibia and The Netherlands and has taught Immunology and Cellular Biology at CPUT. Her PhD project aims to characterize the immunology of TB-FIV co-infection in African lions.
Ig Viljoen worked as a volunteer at the Wildlife Biological Resource Centre before doing a BSc in Zoology and Biochemistry and his BSc (Hons) and MSc in Conservation Biology at North-West University. His PhD project investigates the effects of M. bovis infection on the energy metabolism, immune and reproductive systems of lions.
Courtney Berrington completed her BSc (Genetics and Physiology) at Stellenbosch University, followed by her BSc(Hons) studying TB susceptibility in African buffalo. She is currently researching the variance in phenotypic measures of innate resistance in African buffalo, and correlations with genetic and diagnostic factors. She has an additional interest in population and quantitative genetics pertaining to wildlife conservation.
Wynand Goosen did a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University after which he worked at Rhodes University as a research assistant in the Department of Microbiology. He did his BSc (Hons) working on a TB diagnostic test for wild dogs and is currently doing his MSc in Molecular Biology. His project includes the evaluation of diagnostic assays utilizing M. bovis-specific antigens and the identification of novel diagnostic host biomarkers for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in African buffaloes.
Ross McFadyen completed his BSc in Molecular Biology at the University of Stellenbosch. His Masters project will investigate the humoral immune response to M. bovis infection in African buffaloes with the aim of developing an efficient diagnostic test to be used in the field.
BSc (Hons) Students
Charlene Clarke did a BSc (Agric) in Animal Science and Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University after which she has worked in various positions as an animal nutritionist, animal technician and as a technician in an animal in vitro reproduction laboratory. Her honours project aims to develop new diagnostic tests for TB in meerkats from the Kalahari Desert.